Backing up computers, including mobile devices like iPhones, iPod and iPads, is very important. USB 2.0 transfer speeds can feel excruciatingly slow, however, when syncing iOS devices with hundreds of megabytes of apps and media files. For this reason, I like to SELECTIVELY backup my iPhone when I manually sync it to iTunes. In the past I’ve used a free program called “Backoff” to do this, which Bob Sprankle showed me a few years ago. That program is now part of DiskAid, a program for Apple and Windows users which supports media transfers FROM an iOS device back to your computer. (iTunes only permits syncs in the other direction: FROM your computer to a mobile device.) While these transfer capabilities require a paid registration for DiskAid, the option to turn off automatic iTunes backups is free. After downloading the program on your computer, with iTunes CLOSED open up DiskAid. In the preferences menu, choose to turn off iTunes auto-updates.

Turn off auto-backups in iTunes

If you do this, remember to turn backups back ON periodically so you have a reasonably recent backup of your entire iOS device. If you’ve ever had to restore an iPhone, iPod, or iPad (as I have) you know how EXTREMELY valuable these backups can be!

DiskAid does look like a good program worth checking out for its file transfer features, but at this point I’m just using it for the iTunes backup “off switch” option. The following video explains how file transfers work on the full version of DiskAid, which costs $25.

DigiDNA, the company which makes DiskAid, also offers a free iOS program called Fileapp. It basically turns your iOS device into a flash drive, supporting file transfers via wifi and USB. What interests me most about the app is its ability to open any file you send to the iOS device in another app. That’s something I needed last weekend when I was trying to create a multi-track podcast with Hokusai (free) on my iPad.

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